When people think of undertaking a foreign expedition, the temptation is to not stray too far from the airport and stick to the city areas. It’s safe there, there are plenty of maps around, and above all else, the internet on their smartphones work! But people heading to beautiful touristy countries like France are more than likely missing out on the gorgeous countryside, so here are some of the highlights of the rural aspects of France.
Based in the Bourgogne region, and is approximately 40 minutes outside of Lyon by train. This little town feels like the old European provinces of yesteryear, but with all the modern shops clashing with the historical churches and buildings, old definitely meets new here! The best place to take five to really absorb the area is in the main square, while you can enjoy the best in French cuisine and check out the water feature bang smack in the middle of the square.
Yes, where the wine comes from, but that’s not all! Based in Burgundy, to the North of Lyon and west of the Rhone river, it’s a place of sheer beauty. With plenty of hills, slopes and the obligatory vineyard, it’s probably the most famous part of France that nobody ever visits. A beautiful place to indulge in a few glasses of vino and take in the sumptuous scenery, and combined with the relaxed pace of life, you’ll want to retreat to this part of France again and again. But with the lack of tourists and an authentic French experience, don’t tread like a tourist, find out how to learn French so you can speak like a native! It’s a difficult task, but a small price to pay to be taken into the heart of Beaujolais.
Not only does this small town have a rich collection of history, the man who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs came from here, but it’s a perfect starting point for exploring the Lot and Cele valleys, which is home to cave paintings and various surrealist art. If that isn’t your cup of tea, there is a little village nearby with rustic foods, local cheeses and great places to stay.
Not far from Lyon, Macon has some wonderfully tranquil sights, not just the gorgeous river. You can make the most of the market that sells all manner of local produce, but you can easily get engrossed in the calm culture of the area, as well as look at some great shops. But if you really want to make the most of this area, get some freshly baked bread and sit along the river bank, and just feel yourself relaxing!
The hidden treasures of France doesn’t just mean getting lost in museums and hearing about Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre, but there is another side to the city-centric hustle and bustle of France. So hop on a plane and go in the opposite direction of everyone else! You may be pleasantly surprised how much beauty there is away from the cities of France.